Felon: Diagnosis and Treatment

Infection of the distal finger tip is called felon. It is a very serious type of infection and if proper treatment is not under taken then tactile sensation of the finger tip can be damaged.

Before reading further it would be good to first see Finger Anatomy (skip if you have already done so).

Symptoms that may be present include

  • severe pain over the finger tip
  • swelling in the finger tip (can be mild)
  • redness on the finger tip
  • fever

Diagnosis is by clinical examination.

Treatment is by

  • antibiotics to kill the bacteria
  • anti-inflammatory agents to reduce the pain and swelling
  • surgical drainage of pus

The distal finger tip is divided into different compartments by fascial curtains. During surgical drainage it is important to open up all the compartments, or else relief will be inadequate.

After surgical drainage of the pus, a sample of it is sent for culture and sensitivity testing. This determines the causative micro-organism and the antibiotic most effective against it.

Complications include
  • septic arthritis (infection of finger joint)
  • osteomyleitis (infection of bone)
  • paronychia

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I suspect that I have this finger tip infection?

If you have continuous pain in the finger tip for at least 12 hours along with fever the you may have this infection.

I hope the information provided was helpful. If you have any query you can ask me at the contact me page.

This page was last updated on 13th March 2009.

Other causes of finger pain...

Trigger Finger


Glomus Tumor

Finger Fracture

Mallet Finger

Kirner Deformity

Swan Neck Deformity

Boutonniere Deformity

Bowlers Thumb

Thumb Dislocation

Finger Amputation

Go back from Felon to Finger Joint Pain


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